Effect of Strike on Students in Nigeria
Usually triggered to claim the guarantee of a certain category’s rights, such as better working conditions and salary increases, industrial action has been controversial for many years. It began in Nigeria in the 20th century and is now the order of the day for lecturers in tertiary institutions to make demands from the government. Today we will be looking at the effect of the continuous strike on the students.
Understanding the Basis of Strikes by Tertiary Institution Workers
It would not be untruthful to say that a normal academic calendar in a public tertiary institution in Nigeria without a strike action from any of the institution’s workers union is very rare. And many times, this is caused by what the workers feel like a form of irresponsibility, insensitivity, and negligence on the part of the government of the day. The unrelenting Union had, in the past, embarked on numerous strike actions to press in their demands of funding the educational sectors adequately and other pressing issues. However, most times, the government seems to be calm about the striking workers and the sector’s plight. This is likely because they feel the academic sector has little or no direct significance to its economic development. In the end, students are left to bear the consequences.
There is no doubt that education directly interferes with human training and the construction of the subject. Therefore, nothing is more than valued professionals and sufficient financial resources to invest in its programs. The point is that even though legal, the movement ends up disregarding other aspects that are also fundamental rights and of a social nature, such as the situation of students and the entire population directly or indirectly involved.
In these many months, the academic calendar becomes paralyzed, and classes are suspended, which causes a great delay in the academic semester and, consequently, the running of the pending content during its replacement. Also, the entire calendar had to be reorganized. Thus, even without losing semester, students become penalized with the depreciated adaptation of the teaching methodology and replacement of classes during the vacation period.
A common occurrence for many tertiary institution students in Nigeria is the continuous industrial strike either by the Academic or Non-Academic Staff Union of various institutions. And many times, when the root cause of the strike is traced, it is either due to the failure to implement or partial fulfillment of agreement reached by the union and the government. This breach in an agreement between the unions and the government many times leads to the disruption of the academic calendar.
Loss of interest in continuing Program
During these industrial actions, students find jobs to keep themselves occupied while staying at home or they engage themselves in other activities that fetch them money, so as a result, they lose interest in continuing their studies, especially if they are getting a fat salary and the likelihood of such a job after school is low.
The continuous strike by tertiary institutions workers affects the performance of the students. Based on the fact that studies have been halted for a long period, students’ capacity to read and understand will likely have dropped on resumption. So most students tend to study to pass rather than to study to understand and put it into use. Hence, creating a problem of graduates who are not knowledgeable in their field is now prevalent in the country.
Disruption of Academic calendar
Many times, the strikes affect the academic calendar. The disruption in the academic calendar leads to an extended academic year. Disruption of the academic calendar also affects the quality of the study. With the change in the academic calendar, students who are meant to study a course for 6 years end up using 7 or 8 years for the same Program.
Lack of Interest in Nigeria Education System
Due to the constant strikes, many students have lost hope in developing the educational system in Nigeria. And this is also applicable to parents. That is why parents are now looking for every means to ensure their wards go abroad for studies. Some individuals who are not parents yet have even promised to make every possible effort to avoid the country’s educational system.
Hardship on both Parents and Student
Due to the strike, some amenities provided by parents to their wards go to waste, and they will have to start all over again for the same academic year. Failure to re-provide on the parents’ part will result in the kids suffering during the remaining period of the semester should the strike be called off.
Increase in Immorality and Crime
Staying at home during strike portends great danger for many students and even the society at large because it leads to an increase in crime rate. Many students, especially undergraduates, go into social vices like prostitution, oil bunkering, etc. “An idle man,” they say, “is the devil’s workshop.
Recommendations to Halt Strike in Tertiary Institutions
From the above, it is obvious that there is a need for a total revamp of the educational sector. Most of the reasons for the strike in the educational sector should be addressed. The majority of the infrastructures within schools in Nigeria are below the required standard of learning, some are obsolete, dilapidated, and not enough for the number of students available.
- Adequate Funding: For students to be given quality education there is a need to create a conducive environment for students to excel. There is a need for the government to revisit the budget for education in Nigeria. More funds should be infused into the sector for effective training of students and teachers. Adequate funding will lead to infrastructural development, which will lead to the development of research and, finally, society’s development. Also, with adequate funding, there will be the maintenance of the standard of education and brain drain reduction in the country.
- Fulfillment of Agreements: We urge the government always to fulfill the agreement reached with different academic unions to avoid the constant strike. Most protracted strikes can be averted if necessary steps are taken to build a good relationship between them. It is important to note that Nigeria is heading towards a gloomy future without halting the decline in the educational sector.
- Alternative means to make demands: It is also important to call on the various units in our higher learning institutions to look for new means of demanding and making requests from the government of the day aside from the constant strike, which disrupts the academic calendar. Strike action should always be the last weapon to be drawn out of the armory. This is because of the negative effect frequent strikes have on students and the entire academic community.
- Proactiveness of government: To halt the continuous strike trend, the government of the day should be proactive rather than reactive by initiating an increase in the salaries and allowances of workers in various higher learning institutions. With a constant upward review of welfare packages, these workers’ chances of going on strike will be reduced to the lowest level.
Resorting to strikes when there is a breakdown in communication and negotiations between government and unions in tertiary institutions is not the way to go if we want to develop the educational sector in Nigeria, although that seems to be the only language that the government comprehends effectively. It is time to look for other ways to press home demands in higher learning institutions such as the universities, polytechnics and monotechnics, college of education.